Does the Beck Anxiety Inventory measure anything beyond panic attack symptoms? Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) has become a popular measure in anxiety assessment and the BAI does not overlap in content with measures of depression. There is also some factor analytic evidence to support this distinction. However, an inspection of the BAI's content indicates that many of its items resemble, or are identical to, the symptoms of panic attacks listed in the DSM-IV. Further empirical support for this suspicion is provided from the results of a factor analysis of the BAI items and the individual DSM-IV panic symptoms contained in the Panic Attack Questionnaire, using data from a sample of 157 panic disorder patients. A three-factor model (dizziness related, catastrophic cognitions/fear, cardiorespiratory distress) emerged that replicated a three-factor model of panic symptoms identified in earlier work with another panic disorder sample. All but one of the BAI items loaded highly on the three panic symptom clusters and no separate BAI factor was obtained. The BAI appears to be confounded with, or actually measures, panic attacks rather than anxiety in general. Several implications of this finding are discussed.

publication date

  • November 1996